I have read a lot (& experienced some) about the various regional airlines in the past 18 mos.
I would say that Air Wisconsin, far and away, is overall the best regional airline.
I would rank SkyWest as #2.
I think that there are a lot of them that are reasonable, and I don't think there's that much difference between many of them.
If a contract, or other major problem, is being negotiated or worked through, you will hear the pilots complain a lot more than they usually do, so you can take that as a grain of salt if the regional you are looking at is negotiating.
Which is best for YOU is the better question?
For example, many people would consider Air WI (AWAC) to be a poor choice because they don't want to be based at Appleton (WI) or O'Hare or Denver.
And, if the airline you think is great never calls you in for an interview or hires you, it doesn't matter.
For the better regionals, you need to get a less desirable flying job somewhere else first, so if you are hired by an airline, they are pretty darn good for you!
Good Luck! (I could use some myself-It's tiring being patient for so long!!!)
I agree that Air Wisky and Skywest are one of the top regionals. If you look at it from a money issue Comair has the best pay scale which tops out at $118 an hr. They also have good equipment with an all CRJ fleet except for a handfull of Brasilias, which will be retired this year. They are also experiencing alot of growth which means better upgrade times and job security (if there is such a thing for a pilot). You only have one choice when it comes to a domicile however. If you want a good selection of bases Skywest has a butload of them, and in some pretty cool places too. For me Air Wisky falls in between Skywest and Comair. Just my opinion.
That $118.00, is that for the 70 seater or the regular 50 seat CL-65. My understanding is that our CL-65 pay rate is Comair 50 seater plus 1%. That means $106.60 at 17 years.
I bring this up because the CL-65 is not our biggest aircraft. We have the BAE-146 that tops out at $135.65 at 19 years. But never mind top out pay scale. First year here isn't great, but it's up there. The 328 guys start at $21.00 (probably very few people going to that aircraft these days) and the CL-65 and 146 start at $24.50. Our SECOND YEAR 146 F.O. is $40.00 an hour. That's not bad. Also take into consideration that you are an employee here from day one, earning you monthly guarantee while in training AND the company pays for the hotel for the entire duration of your training. We also have the 2 for 1 duty rig and 3.5 for 1 trip rig. A 3 hour minimum pay per day and full pay for weather and mechanical cancelation. Plus, we have to work less for the money, our minimum days off are 12 for both reserve and line holders.
So back to my original question, what aircraft is the $118.00 for?
I was talking the other day to an Air Wisconsin pilot who was furloughed. Comair has never furloughed an employee. I think Comair is the best, and will continue to be the regional jet leader in the world.
Comair has never furloughed an employee, but they did have that fiasco last summer. I think I would rather work for a company that furloughs 40 pilots then one that won't give their pilots a decent contract without them having to go on strike for 2 months. I think if Comair had the amount of surplus pilots that we do they would likely furlough as well. We geared up for a big expansion for UAL, but that is being delayed now. Still getting CRJ's but they are just replacing 328's right now.
As far as payscales go for the CRJ current range is $56.65 for a second year captain increasing approx $2 a year for a 16 year max of $86.69. We get raises annually until 2005 with that years pay scale stretching from $63.66 to $106.60.
2nd year FO pay is $35.01 as of next year.
Of course, this debate is meaningless if you are in the market for a job right now. Comair is hiring and we are not.
ha ha ha! That's pretty funny. Skydiverdriver found a furlough proof airline. I guess that makes Comair better than UAL, NWA, AA, TWA, USAir, Continental, AWA (yeah, maybe) and numerous others... as long as you overlook the fact that UAL, NWA, AA, TWA, USAir, Continental, AWA (yeah, maybe) haven't EVER done PFT... and since we're at it, you can add AWAC to the list.
"My that water is cold! "
"Yeah, and deep too."
I'm tired and a little cranky... humor me here: The "regional jet leader in the world." Good for you. Considering quality of life, unless you want to live in Northern Kentucky or Southern Ohio, you have to commute to the center of the regional jet world.
I think we were talking about regional airlines. Our strike was not about a descent contract. We were trying to change the industry, and make it better for all pilots. You are welcome, whether you realize it or not. That is why we were out for 89 days. We are still the best small jet operator.
PS, if you want to work for an airline who would not rather you go on strike than give you a descent contract, I guess your only choice would be Southwest. I know all of the other ones would have done the same. Good luck to you.
Everyone in the regional airline industry really appreciates what your pilot group went through to "raise the bar." However, my point is that your management would rather see the airline bleed millions of dollars, trying to pit other employee groups against the pilots, before giving you the contract you deserve. Good management would have negotiated the contract you received right away - or at least 15 min after the strike deadline as ours did.
I believe the best regional would be the one that operates where you want to live. I hear the skiing isn't that great in N. Kentucky, so Air Whiskey is the best for me. If I lived on the west coast it would probably be SkyWest. If I lived in Cheyenne it would be Great Lakes.... maybe not.
They DID offer us the contract that we signed before we went on strike. We had to turn it down twice, and essentially the same contract was signed before we went back to work.
If living in a certain place is important to you, I would suggest you look into a line of work that would make that possible for you, or you should commute. I'm from Phoenix, and the only descent airline there is one that I would rather not work for. Sometimes, you just have to move, or change.
I'm not trying to stir up anything here, but as far as I know, Air Wiskey's old contract was in most aspects superior to Comair's new contract. Please explain why your situation is better. I'm not sure that our pilot group should thank you guys for striking, it did not do anything for our position.
I know you are proud of your company, and i'm glad you're happy to work there. Good for you.